The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), also sometimes referred to as the Common Professional Examination, (CPE), is a programme for non-law graduates.
The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is a full-time, 36-week, intensive course for non-law graduates, or those with appropriate non-law professional qualifications, wishing to either enter the legal profession or work in law-relevant employment. No prior knowledge of law is required. The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is designed to facilitate the acquisition of sound legal knowledge in those areas of law which are known as the Foundations of Law, plus one additional area of law. The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is designed to provide the legal knowledge necessary to satisfy the academic requirements of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Bar Standards Board and the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX). Successful completion of the Swansea Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) satisfies all of the academic requirements for admission to the vocational stage of training as a solicitor, barrister or legal executive.
The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is structured as follows:
• The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)is preceded by a two-week period of directed reading on the English Legal System and the principles of legal scholarship (no attendance required, home study) • Teaching commences with an induction period which includes a short block of lectures and seminars concentrating on the English Legal System, the acquisition of legal skills, and European Union Law • The foundation subjects of Contract, Tort, Public Law, Equity & Trusts, Land Law and Criminal Law are taught by means of a series of lectures and compulsory seminars spanning two teaching blocks; • A further legal subject is studied, by means of a supervised research project
Non-law graduates are being welcomed into the legal profession at an increasing rate, as they are perceived as bringing a fresh perspective to the practice of law, and now make up approximately 50% of all new lawyers. Successful completion of the Swansea GDL, which is accredited by the SRA, Bar and ILEX satisfies all of the academic requirements for admission to the vocational stage of training as a solicitor, barrister or legal executive.
UK qualified lawyers have the opportunity to not only work in local and nationally based firms and chambers, public bodies and businesses but also in legal environments around the world.
In addition, the Swansea GDL is also relevant to those wishing to enhance their job prospects in areas such as business management, the probation service, forensic psychology, trading standards, politics, human resource management, education to name a few.
“I completed the GDL at Swansea University in 2010. I wanted to gain practical legal experience before continuing my studies, so found a position as a paralegal at a local high street firm. Whilst the work was interesting and challenging, I knew I wanted to work for a larger commercial firm. I moved to London and began applying for training contracts whilst working as a paralegal in Herbert Smith. I was lucky enough to be offered a contract with Edwards Wildman, a small city firm which combines a small trainee intake with top quality work and high calibre clients.
Before beginning my training I worked in-house for a start-up technology company to acquire a further diversity of experience. The position allowed me to gain valuable exposure to IP work, which is an area of law I am particularly interested in.I am currently in my first seat in the Commercial Litigation department which so far has been interesting and varied. I am enjoying my training contract and look forward to the next two years”.
KATE HOWELL, FROM WALSALL, WAS AN ARCHAEOLOGIST FOR TEN YEARS BEFORE OPTING TO RE-TRAIN IN LAW. SHE EXCELLED IN HER GRADUATE DIPLOMA IN LAW AT SWANSEA UNIVERSITY AND HAS NOW BEEN OFFERED A TRAINING CONTRACT WITH A LARGE REGIONAL LAW FIRM.
"After working as an archaeologist for 10 years, I decided that I wanted a career change and decided on law. The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) offered a relatively quick way of retraining for a legal career, without the need to do another three-year degree.
The GDL is a ‘law conversion course’ which covers seven key areas of law - constitutional, contract, criminal, EU, land, tort, and trusts. Although there was a huge amount of new information to take in, we got on very well as a group and the support and camaraderie was invaluable.
I opted for Swansea University because of its excellent reputation, first-rate facilities and attractive location, and I have really enjoyed the experience. Although it’s been hard work, I’ve relished the challenge of learning a new subject, practicing new skills and making new friends. Although there has been a short-term cost, I am confident of the long term benefits, both financially and in terms of job satisfaction.
During my GDL I undertook a vacation placement with the firm Morgan Cole, after which I was invited to an assessment day and interview. They covered the cost of my LPC and offered me a training contract. Postgraduate study has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to retrain and take my career in a different direction - I’ll be sorry to leave University, but am really excited about starting my new job and commencing my legal career!"
Law: Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) Scholarships
Swansea University's College of Law is currently offering a range of scholarships for full-time applicants meeting certain eligibility criteria. The scholarships offer a tuition fee discount on the standard 2015/16 rate. The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), also sometimes referred to as the Common Professional Examination, (CPE), is a programme for non-law graduates, or those with equivalent qualifications, wishing to either enter the legal profession or work in law-relevant employment. No prior knowledge of law is required.
Value of Scholarship(s)
Prospective students whose first language is not English may also be required to demonstrate their language proficiency by achieving IELTS Level 6.
To enrol on the Graduate Diploma in Law, an applicant must normally have obtained an undergraduate degree awarded by a recognised UK or Republic of Ireland institution. (Please note that those wishing to progress to the Bar should normally have achieved at least a 2 (ii) honours classification in their undergraduate degree. Visit View Website for further information). Prospective students whose first language is not English may also be required to demonstrate their language proficiency by achieving IELTS Level 6.
Recipient: Swansea University
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